Saturday, May 14, 2011

AZMEX MISC 11-5-11

Note: would remind readers of NK's occasional involvement with
Mexican groups over the years.
Strong ties between terror groups/sponsors and DTO's worldwide well
North Korea
Flourishing Poppy Fields Outside Prison Camps Are Heroin Cash Crop
for North Korea
By Ed Barnes
Published May 10, 2011 |

Outside the Yodok Prison camp agricultural areas previously
identified as poppy fields for the production of opium and heroin
have been greatly expanded. (DigitalGlobe)
Pinched by tightening economic sanctions and faced with what might
become a contentious transition of power, North Korea is ramping up
production of one of its key foreign currency generators -- heroin.
When satellite photos were released last week by Amnesty
International showing the rogue nation's prison camp system, some
analysts were surprised by the expansion of agricultural lands around
the camps.
"What was really surprising," one satellite analyst, who studied the
images but asked not to be identified, said, "was how farming acreage
on the land around the Yodok camp had expanded. These are poppy
fields and have been since we first looked at the camp in 2001."
That assessment was underscored by Chuck Downs, executive director of
the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, who said that the
regime's military, which runs the camps and the nation's illicit
heroin production, "do not allow food production by prisoners because
they would steal it. They would rather grow drugs."
Most analysts agree that the expansion of the drug-producing fields
is a sign of a regime in deep economic trouble.
Downs said that the increase is the result of the bite of trade
sanctions that are beginning to devastate the nation's economy and
the need to quickly replace the hard currency lost to sanctions.
Of particular importance to the regime was the sale of missiles and
arms abroad, which accounted for a large proportion of foreign
income, but the 2006 trade embargo has vastly curtailed those sales.
The lack of foreign currency, he said, was also having its impact
"The regime uses the money to distribute to party members to give
them a sense of well being, usually in the form of gifts like color
televisions. Last September a huge party meeting was surprisingly
delayed because gifts that had been purchased from China, with
foreign currency, had not arrived."
Just how big the North Korean production of heroin has become is
astonishing, according to analysts and intelligence reports, and has
been largely overlooked as the international community focused on a
bigger issue-- the sale of nuclear materials and technology. "It has
gotten surprisingly little attention in the last ten years,"
according to Bruce Bennett of the RAND corporation.
Because of the secrecy of the regime there are no firm figures on
drug profits, but estimates put the earnings on exports of heroin
from $500 million to $1 billion annually.
"To put that in context," Bruce Klingner, a senior fellow at the
Heritage Foundation, pointed out that "the total for legitimate
exports is estimated at around $1 billion annually."
North Korea first turned to large scale heroin production in the mid
1990s when the nation's manufacturing sector collapsed. Kim Jong Il,
the nation's dictator, decided that the heroin was the quicker way to
make up for the export losses and ordered all collective farms to
dedicate 12 acres to poppy production.
Since then, according Klingner, production has seesawed depending on
the success of other exports, like missiles. Even more startling than
the state's involvement in heroin production is its use of its
diplomatic corps to beat customs inspections in order to distribute
the heroin.
Over the past dozen years more than 50 Korean diplomats or other
state workers have been caught carrying drugs into more than 20
countries, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
In 1977, for example, Venezuela expelled the entire North Korean
embassy for drug dealing. In 1993 Australia intercepted a North
Korean vessel, the Pongsu, carrying $50 million worth of heroin into
a port near Melbourne. More recently, North Korean diplomats in
China, Russia, Japan and other countries have been found carrying or
trying to sell heroin and have been expelled.
According to Klingner, one of the reasons that happens is that
foreign embassies for the regime get no state funding for their
"Diplomats are expected to fund themselves," he said. "And this is
one way they do it."
He also said that because the United States has cut diplomatic
relations with North Korea there have not been any incidents in the U.S.
Defectors from the North, including state security officials, say
that as the heroin production soared, the regime used its diplomats
not only to import the drugs, but to form alliances with organized
crime groups overseas including the Russian Mafia and Japan's Yakuza.
This is allowing them to expand production even more, ensuring that
their heroin reaches every corner of the world.
Note: unusual article for NI, and equally unusual for SCSO to catch
Good real estate market in SCC - for smugglers
By Hank Stephenson
Nogales International
Published Tuesday, May 10, 2011 11:31 AM CDT
With the recent spike in foreclosures and an abundance of available
rental properties in Santa Cruz County, drug and human smugglers are
finding it easier to obtain houses to use in their illegal
operations, law enforcement officials say.
At least once a month, local law enforcement officials bust a house
loaded with Mexican marijuana waiting to be shipped throughout the
United States – or with Mexican nationals awaiting the same fate.
And while one bust a month is hardly an epidemic, it's still higher
than Lt. Geraldo Castillo of the Santa Cruz County Metro Task Force
would like to see.
"It's happening in Santa Cruz County, and not necessarily only in
Nogales (or) only in Rio Rico," Castillo said. "Wherever there are
houses available, rentals, that's what they're looking for, available
homes – good neighborhoods are not exempt."
Some of the houses are clean and empty, some are trashed, and the
ones that are used to house illegal immigrants are often squalid,
Castillo said.
Border Patrol Agent Colleen Agle declined to comment on how often her
agency busts up local drop and stash houses. But she echoed
Castillo's assessment of the conditions in drop houses, where illegal
immigrants wait for transportation out of the area, saying they are
"awful." The houses are often covered trash and without running
water, she said, and they are a health hazard to the people living
The smugglers prefer to run their operations out of nondescript
rental houses as opposed to houses they own outright, Castillo said.
That's because the rentals provide a layer of anonymity, they are
temporary, and authorities can't seize from the smugglers what they
don't own.
As more people are putting their houses on the rental market in an
effort to keep them from going into foreclosure, smugglers have a
larger selection of neighborhoods to move their operations into,
Castillo said. And homes left vacant after a foreclosure are also
susceptible to criminal use.
Santa Cruz County, with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the
state and its location next to the border, provides a perfect storm
of opportunity. According to RealtyTrac, a California-based company
that tracks foreclosures nationwide, one in every 246 homes in the
county fell into foreclosure in January 2011, while in Rio Rico, the
rate was one in 96. The national foreclosure rate for the month was
one in 494 homes.
Checkpoint effect
Still, busts of stash and drop houses have slowed some since a spike
a few years ago after the Border Patrol installed its checkpoint
along Interstate 19, Castillo said. That move forced smugglers to
stop in Santa Cruz County and plan for the next stage of their
journey – getting around the checkpoint.
Nanci Pottinger, a real estate agent with Noginan Real Estate LLC,
remembers when the checkpoint first came in and the number of stash
houses and drop houses started to spike.
A few years back, she opened the garage door to show a house to a
prospective buyer and discovered "mounds and mounds of pot" stacked
and stinking in the garage.
That wasn't the first or last time Pottinger walked into a smuggler's
den when checking on her rental properties, she said, and the
experiences have made her more careful about who she rents to, even
in nice neighborhoods that don't usually attract suspicion.
"They love automatic garage doors, they want to have window coverings
that when shut are completely black, these are things they look for,"
she said.
More proactive
Castillo said the Metro Task Force has been trying to take a more
proactive approach towards prosecuting leaders of illegal human- and
drug-smuggling houses in recent years.
Authorities are taking investigations into rental homes, landlords
and lessees further than in the past and are trying to catalogue the
players and disrupt the criminal organizations at their roots through
detective work, he said. Usually, it's a tip from a suspicious
neighbor that sets off the investigation, and landlords have also
been known to call in a tip if they spot something awry.
"The mentality has changed from going up there and taking the dope
and arresting them and put them in jail, and that's it," Castillo
said. "Now we're digging more into who's the owner. Who was the
owner? How many times has this property been sold? We're trying to do
everything and anything be more aware."
But, as always in law enforcement, catching the bad guys is a game of
cat and mouse. Law enforcement efforts are hampered because the
criminals have been getting smarter about covering their tracks,
Castillo said. At the same time, houses have been getting easier to
find, and prosecution for individuals running the operations
continues to be difficult.
Investigations are time-consuming and it is often difficult to prove
the renter was complicit in the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, as
criminal prosecution requires.
Prosecutors need less proof to seize the houses through the civil
code, and have been increasingly relying on that tactic, as they did
last year with a big marijuana bust in Vista Del Cielo subdivision,
Castillo said.
Still it's difficult to seize a house, and it's not usually necessary
because the landlords aren't complicit in the crime, Castillo said.
Pottinger, the real estate agent, said some people are willing to
rent to just anyone, but most people, even when their house is in
trouble, still care about who lives there and who lives in the
neighborhood. "Maybe some people don't care who they rent to," she
said. "But I think most people are a little more careful now."
Obama: Guard troops to remain on border
Tue, 05/10/2011 - 03:30
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX — Reversing course, the Obama administration has decided not
to withdraw National Guard troops from the border this summer.
In a briefing Monday, a senior administration official said existing
funds will be "reprogrammed" to keep the force at the same 1,200-
soldier level it is now. That includes 560 soldiers in Arizona.
"We're working on the way to pay for that now," the official said.

Note: San Luis? Means they probably had to come up through the
operationally controlled, secure Yuma sector.
Arizona Department of Public Safety seizes nearly $4 million in meth
near Gila Bend
Largest meth seizure in recent history by DPS
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 -

On Friday, May 6, 2011, a DPS officer stopped a Ford F-150 on State
Route 85 near Gila Bend, Ariz. During the traffic stop, the officer
became suspicious of criminal activity. A U.S. Customs and Border
Protection narcotics canine officer responded to the scene and
provided assistance. Following a subsequent search of the pickup,
officers discovered a total of 217 pounds (98.5 kilos) of
methamphetamine with a street value of $3,854,000 and four-pounds
(1.88 kilos) of white heroin within the vehicle. The driver, Miguel
Bustamante, 33, and the passenger, Emmanuel Roque, 21, both of San
Luis, Ariz. were arrested and booked at the Maricopa County 4th
Avenue Jail on felony drug charges to include transportation of
narcotics for sale, transportation of a dangerous drug for sale,
possession of narcotics for sale and possession of a dangerous drug
for sale.
"This drug seizure is exemplary of the cooperation that exists
between DPS and our federal partners in U.S. Customs and Border
Protection along the southern border region," said Robert Halliday,
director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. "It's important
to note the significance of this seizure. Typically in a calendar
year DPS will seize less than 200 pounds of methamphetamine. It's
vital to get this dangerous drug off the streets and out of our

Note: The Sierra Vista based aerostat crashed over the weekend. The
one in Yuma should still be up.
Arrest made in aircraft marijuana drop
May 09, 2011 8:50 PM
BY JAMES GILBERT - SUN STAFF WRITER;charset=iso88591marijuana-ctpd.html
The combined efforts of Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents, Cocopah
Tribal Police Department (CTPD), and Homeland Security Investigations
(HSI) led to the arrest of a U.S. citizen and the seizure of 539
pounds of marijuana he was attempting to smuggle into the country
over the weekend.
Agent Robert Lowry, a spokesman for the Yuma Sector Communications
Division, said Border Patrol agents assigned to Yuma Station were
patrolling near County 14th Street and the levee road on Friday when
they received notification from the Air & Marine Operations Center of
a possible ultralight aircraft incursion.
A helicopter from Border Patrol's Office of Air and Marine also
responded to the area and began searching the area, eventually
locating bundles of marijuana lying in a field near County 15th
Street. Ten bundles weighing approximately 278 pounds were seized.
"The helicopter hovered above the area until agents on the ground
arrived on scene," Lowry said.
It is believed the ultralight, which did not land, had made several
flights to the area, dropping the bundles of marijuana into the field
before flying back to Mexico.
Lowry said agents noticed a 1994 White Ford 350 truck parked near the
location where the bundles had been dropped and conducted a vehicle
stop with the assistance of the CTPD.
A records check on the driver revealed that he had numerous prior
narcotics-related charges and he was cited for a traffic violation by
ICE HSI and CTPD served a search warrant at the driver's residence.
Inside the house, they discovered eight more bundles of marijuana,
weighing a total of 261 pounds, all wrapped and marked in the same
fashion as those located in the agricultural field.
The driver, his truck, and the marijuana, were turned over to the
CTPD for prosecution.
In all, over 500 pounds of marijuana was seized, worth an estimated

Border agents find drugs dropped from ultralight
Associated Press | Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 5:21 pm | Comments
Border agents in southwestern Arizona found 278 pounds of marijuana
they believe were dropped from an ultralight aircraft flown by a drug
Border Patrol Agent Robert Lowry said Monday that the U.S. Air and
Marine Operations Center in Riverside, Calif. notified Yuma agents of
a possible ultralight incursion Friday.
Some agents on the ground spotted an ultralight in the air, but by
the time an agency helicopter got there it was back in Mexico.
Soon after that, agents found 10 bundles of marijuana on the ground
and noticed a pickup truck nearby.
They pulled the truck over, and the driver was a 30-year-old Yuma man
who had numerous previous narcotics charges. In his nearby home,
investigators found eight bundles of marijuana weighing 261 pounds
and arrested him.
Note: always interesting that no tunnels found in Douglas area.
'Sophisticated' tunnel found in Nogales
By the Nogales International
Published Tuesday, May 10, 2011 11:33 AM CDT
Federal authorities say they've discovered an unusually sophisticated
tunnel in downtown Nogales that was outfitted with electricity, water
pumps and ventilation.
The Border Patrol says its agents initially discovered evidence of
the tunnel on May 2, then collaborated with Mexican officials to
discover the origin of the tunnel inside an abandoned building in
Nogales, Sonora.
The tunnel was 15 feet below ground and approximately 250 feet long,
measuring 3 feet wide by 5 feet high.
"This tunnel is more sophisticated than other recently discovered
tunnels," said Randy Hill, the Border Patrol's chief patrol agent in
the Tucson Sector. "They chiseled through solid rock and then
installed electricity, lighting, water pumps, and ventilation."
A Border Patrol news release said the U.S. and Mexican governments
are "working to remediate the tunnel as soon as possible." Crews on
the U.S. could be seen last week pouring concrete into an apparent
tunnel on East International Street, just east of the Morley
pedestrian gate.
The Border Patrol reported finding five border tunnels in Nogales
during the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010. The Nogales
International has already reported nine tunnel discoveries since Oct.
1, including this latest find.
Violent Alien Smuggler Sentenced To 11 Years In Prison
Co-defendant involved in transporting the aliens sentenced to 30
months in prison
PHOENIX – U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton on Monday
sentenced defendant Abraham Flores-Angeles, 22, a citizen of Mexico,
to 11 years in prison for his role in a violent, hostage-taking
illegal alien smuggling ring. On January 11, 2011, he was found
guilty of Conspiracy to Take Hostages, Hostage Taking, Harboring
Illegal Aliens, and Possessing a Firearm During and In Relation To A
Crime Of Violence, by a federal jury in Phoenix.
Co-defendant, Melissa Segura, a driver for the smuggling
organization, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for her
involvement in the offense. Segura pleaded guilty to Transporting
Illegal Aliens in Dec. 2010.
On February 14, 2011, Judge Bolton had previously sentenced Oscar
Caballero-Vergara and Faustino Chavez-Angulo each to 84 months in
prison for their involvement in a violent alien smuggling group.
Caballero-Vergara and Chavez-Angulo pleaded guilty to Possessing,
Using and Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of
Violence in Nov. 2010. The investigation was led by U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
"Victims in this case were beaten, threatened, intimidated and
humiliated in order to coerce more money from their family members to
gain their release," said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. "This tactic
is unfortunately all too common among violent human smuggling
organizations, and this office, along with our partners at HSI, is
determined to push back."
"Violent human smugglers are a scourge on our community, inflicting
pain and humiliation on their supposed customers for profit and
perverse pleasure," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE
HSI in Arizona. "HSI will continue to work closely with the U.S.
Attorney's Office to ensure these crimes are aggressively
investigated and prosecuted."
According to court filings, in April of 2010, this group held at
least 40 illegal aliens hostage at a house in Phoenix. While held
hostage at gunpoint, one victim was tied with duct tape, kicked and
beaten. All the aliens in the house were threatened with death.
Approximately six people escaped by jumping out a bedroom window
after which one defendant told the remaining aliens that they should
not try to escape because he would "shoot to kill." The victims were
threatened with physical violence, assaulted, and menaced in order to
extort more money from their family members.
An anonymous tip led U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE)
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to the house where the aliens
were held. After conducting surveillance, the ICE agents questioned
the driver of a vehicle seen leaving the house. When agents entered
the home, they found a loaded shotgun and more than 40 aliens held
hostage inside. They arrested two smugglers inside the house.
According to the victim-witnesses, the "drop- house" was crowded, the
hostages were kept in three bedrooms and at one point there were over
100 people inside the house, with approximately 30 people sleeping on
the floor in a room. A witness described that the hostage- aliens had
to sleep "sideways" to fit inside the room. The bathrooms were also
very dirty, the victims were not given soap or towels, and the water
in the house was at some point disconnected. The doors and windows to
the house were closed and locked, the windows were screwed shut, and
there was little ventilation and no air conditioning. The hostages
were normally fed small portions of beans, rice, potatoes, or eggs
about once a day, while the smugglers ate regularly, and Flores-
Anglese used the food to taunt and humiliate the hostages. One
victim, Munoz-Rodriguez, only ate twice during his seven or eight
days at the drop-house, and on one occasion because he was tied up,
he had to use his mouth to pick up and eat a cracker from the floor.
A conviction for Hostage Taking and Possessing a Firearm During and
In Relation To A Crime Of Violence charge carry a maximum penalty of
life in prison years, a $ 250,000 fine or both. These penalties must
be served consecutively. The evidence at trial showed the hostage
taking included a ransom demand, the use of a dangerous weapon, and
vulnerable victims. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Bolton
will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide
appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by
those guidelines in determining a sentence but is bound by the
statute requiring that a mandatory minimum sentenced be imposed.
The investigation leading to the guilty verdict was conducted by U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The prosecution was handled by
Walter Perkel and Leta Hollon, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of
Arizona, Phoenix.
RELEASE NUMBER: 2011-086(Flores-Angeles Segura)

Note: maybe why so much traffick in San Luis area lately.
Publicada: 11/05/2011 10:33 Por: Redacción ElImparcial
Asegura Marina 19 tons. de droga en el Golfo de California
Un total de 19 toneladas de mariguana han sido aseguradas en aguas
del Golfo de California, dentro de la jurisdicción de la Cuarta Zona
Naval, informó Eduardo Villa Valenzuela.
El vicealmirante y comandante de la Zona Naval señaló que los
aseguramientos representan un 30% en incremento a lo que se tuvo el
año pasado.
Las acciones de los marinos, dijo, son principalmente en apoyo de los
inspectores de Profepa y Semarnat, pero tambien en la realización de
operativos de vigilancia en la zona costera y en las islas dentro del

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